Warrior of the Week: Senior Airman Colin Coleman

Story and photos by Airman 1st Class Lauren Main

15th Wing Public Affairs

Senior Airman Colin Coleman, 535th Airlift Squadron C-17 loadmaster, is this week’s Hickam Warrior.

Though he is an American citizen, Coleman was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and grew up in Zambia, Africa with his mother and father until he was 18 years old. Coming from a family of missionaries, he traveled back and forth to the United States every few years until he joined the Air Force in 2007.

“That’s actually one of the things I love most about being stationed in Hawaii,” Coleman said. “I grew up in tropical Africa, and it’s awesome to be stationed somewhere that feels like home.”

Coleman initially joined the Air Force to further his education and have an opportunity to serve his country.

“Being born in and living in another country really puts things into perspective for me,” he said. “A lot of people take our freedom for granted. In other countries, if you say something bad about the government, there’s a good chance you’ll never be heard from again.” Coleman has traveled multiple times throughout his career and has been assigned on temporary duty more than 20 times and logged more than 500 flight hours. He said the thing he enjoys most about his job is being able to provide aid to the Pacific Rim.

He also recently volunteered for a deployment flying combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn. Following the Haiti earthquake during Operation Unified Response, members of the Taiwanese Air Force providing relief to Haiti landed on the 15th Wing flightline, needing to make repairs to their aircraft. Coleman, speaking fluent Chinese, translated for the Taiwanese aircrew so they could obtain the proper supplies and parts needed to make the repairs.

“Airman Coleman exemplifies the highest standards and skills of a C- 17 loadmaster and, more importantly, a young leader,” said Senior Master Sgt. Terry Topouzoglou, 535th Airlift Squadron superintendent.

Coleman supervises the aircraft loading teams, directs loading operations and enforces safety regulations. He is also responsible for inspecting cargo and ensures that it is properly manifested.

“Airman Coleman works in our training flight where he is in charge of the daily supervision and upgrade process of seven newly assigned loadmasters,” he said. “The 535th is proud to have such an outstanding mentor and hard worker within our ranks.”

Coleman stays busy in his free time playing rugby and the piano whenever he gets the chance.

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Category: Warrior of the Week